US Ratchets up China Trade War, Threatens New Tariffs

Chinese auto firms US China hit by tariff war

"As a result of China's retaliation and failure to change its practices, the president has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports", Lighthizer said. China imported only $130 billion in goods from the United States past year, but it could retaliate through other means, including regulatory moves and investigations of U.S. companies.

The Chinese government vowed Wednesday to take "firm and forceful measures" against USA threats to expand tariff hikes to thousands of products like fish sticks, apples and French doors as their trade dispute escalates. International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Roberto Azevedo, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney all expressed their concerns or warned of the consequences of the U.S. move.

LONDON - Global markets were getting hammered Wednesday as the trade war between the Trump administration and China intensified, with fears also rising that President Donald Trump could pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance.

US officials released a list of thousands of Chinese imports the administration wants to hit with the tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, chemicals, coal, steel and aluminium. Each side is planning tariffs on a further $16 billion in goods that would bring the totals to $50 billion.

The list of new tariff targets from the US Trade Representative includes vacuum cleaners, furniture, and auto and bicycle parts, but US-branded smartphones and laptops were excluded.

On Wednesday, the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 1 percent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai recovered somewhat after falling more than 2 percent. Before now, the administration had deliberately avoided imposing tariffs on consumer goods in order to spare USA shoppers from direct economic pain.

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The list is subject to a two-month public comment period before taking effect. But it also points out that American cars assembled in China will equally bear the brunt of the tariff war. Many market watchers are concerned the trade war will derail the expansion.

The overall blow from Friday's tariff hikes to the world's second-largest economy should be limited, according to private sector analysts. The ministry said it would also double efforts to get the World Trade Organisation to block Washington's efforts to penalise China for the wrong reasons.

The Aussie, considered a liquid proxy for China-related trades, fell 0.5 per cent against the dollar to US$0.7422.

"It won't be hard for Chinese companies to find replacements for USA goods", said Bai Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, quoted by the newspaper Global Times.

The general manager of a medical device exporter that makes 15 percent to 20 percent of its sales to the United States said he plans to fly to the US this week to negotiate with customers who stopped ordering its syringes and other equipment. During a visit to Germany this week by Chinese Premier Keqiang Li, the countries signed business deals worth more than $23 billion.

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